by Karl Gottfried von Leitner (1800 - 1890)
Translation © by Malcolm Wren

Drang in die Ferne
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): CAT DUT ENG FRE
Vater, du glaubst es nicht,
Wie's mir zum Herzen spricht,
Wenn ich die Wolken seh',
Oder am Strome steh',

Wolkengold, Wellengrün
Ziehen so leicht dahin,
Weilen im Sonnenlicht,
Aber bei Blumen nicht.

Zögern und rasten nie,
Eilen als wüßten sie
Ferne und ungekannt
Irgend ein schön'res Land.

Ach! von Gewölk und Fluth
Hat auch mein wildes Blut
Heimlich geerbt den Drang,
Stürmet die Welt entlang!

Vaterlands Felsenthal
Wird mir zu eng, zu schmal;
Denn meiner Sehnsucht Traum
Findet darin nicht Raum.

Laßt mich! ich muss, ich muss
Fordern den Scheidekuss.
Vater und Mutter mein,
Müsset nicht böse seyn:

Hab' euch ja herzlich lieb,
Aber ein wilder Trieb
Jagt mich waldein waldaus,
Weit von dem Vaterhaus.

Sorgt nicht durch welches Land
Einsam mein Weg sich wand,
Monden- und Sternenschein
Leuchtet auch dort hinein.

Überall wölbt's Gefild'
Sich den azurnen Schild,
Den um die ganze Welt
Schirmend der Schöpfer hält.

Ach und wenn nimmermehr
Ich zu euch wiederkehr',
Lieben, so denkt er fand
Glücklich das schön're Land.

Confirmed with Wiener Zeitschrift für Kunst, Literatur, Theater und Mode. Erstes Quartal des achten Jahrgangs. Auf Kosten des Herausgebers Johann Schickh. No. 36. Dinstag, den 25. März 1823, attachment after page 300.

Leitner published 1925 a revised version of this poem in his Gedichte, see below.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Another version of this text exists in the database.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Pruïja vers la llunyania", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , "Drang tot reizen", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Malcolm Wren) , "Urge to be far away", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Désir du lointain", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 40
Word count: 165

Urge to be far away
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
Father, you will not believe
How much it speaks to my heart
When I see the clouds
Or I stand by the river,

The gold of the clouds, the green of the waves,
They are pulled along so gently,
They hang about in the sunlight
But not amongst the flowers.

They never hesitate or rest,
They hurry on as if they were aware of
A distant and unexplored
Land somewhere else, a more beautiful land.

Oh! From the clouds and the flowing waters
My wild blood has also 
Secretly inherited that urge
To storm through the world!

My fatherland's valley enclosed by cliffs
Is becoming too narrow for me, too constricted;
For my dreams of longing
Cannot find any space within it.

Let me go! I have to, I must,
Request a farewell kiss.
Dear father and mother,
You mustn't be angry:

I really love you with all my heart
Yet a savage instinct
Is chasing me into the forest and beyond,
Far from my paternal home.

Do not worry about which land
My solitary path is taking me towards,
The light of the moon and the stars
Will be shining even there.

Everywhere is underneath that overarching
Azure shield
Which covers the whole world,
Held by the protecting arm of the creator.

And oh, if it happens that I never again
Return to you,
Dear ones, just tell yourself he found
Happiness in that more beautiful land.


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 by Malcolm Wren, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2018-08-24
Line count: 40
Word count: 238